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large numbers of them. It has, I hear, been beautifully restored of late years by the family of the present Vicar, Rev. S. C. Malan. No schools. The parish had been held for some years in commendam before my predecessor's Incumbency, who was Vicar ten years only; and altogether wanted a great deal of ecclesiastical repair, My Curate helped me admirably, and the people were not slow to answer to the call. I look back on the many instances of respect, and confidence, and attachment, throughout the seven years, with deep love and thankfulness.
Wages in Dorset in those times had an unpleasant notoriety ; but Dorset was not the exception which it was commonly represented to be in and out of Parliament. Wilts, Somerset, Devon, might have been cited with about equal justice; and I was always told that what gave Dorset the advantage of being exceptionally abused, was certain personal Parliamentary antipathies. Be this as it may, wages were certainly many shillings lower at Broadwinsor than my north-country antecedents, lower than even my Oxfordshire antecedents, had prepared me to expect.
The parish was agricultural; but there was in it a sailcloth manufactory, hand-loom weaving, employing a large number of hands, men and boys, women and girls.
When I had built the schools, we used to have a large attendance there week-days and Sundays,-Sundays especially ; for many of the young men and women employed at the factory came to us to try to learn something,-reading, writing,-summing was a far-away accomplishment.
Now these young men and women worked at the factory ten hours a-day for five days, and eight hours on Saturday, and the wages were about 25. 6d. a-week for young women, 35. 6d., or thereabouts, for young men. The lowness of wages enabled the proprietor of the factory to compete with other factories worked by steam-power.
There was a good deal of rioting about 1841-2, rickburning, and the like; we had some very rough hands amongst us, and things looked alarming enough. The farmers were too frightened to move, lest the move should bring them to be singled out for vengeance, and so they turned to me.
I went to the magistrates, and represented that I apprehended very serious consequences, unless immediate steps were taken to keep the rioters in check. My deposition and application were forwarded to the Home Office, and presently there arrived a splendid specimen out of the A division of police, and reported himself to me,-belt, bludgeon, dark-lantern, and small dog ; I forget whether he had a pistol, but I think he had. It was about Christmas, I think, 1842.
I requested him to report to me from time to time as he saw occasion. In a week he came, and said that he did not think after all there was much the matter.
Oh," I said, "take another week." The Saturday following he came again, and said that it was not so quiet and respectable a place as he had supposed.
I asked the grounds of his change of mind.
He said that he was coming along the village street, and five or six rough fellows laughed at him.
“Ah," I said ; "what did you do ?”
“I went up to them and said, “Now, my men, I'll take good care before I've been here many days, that a decent man can walk about here without being insulted by a pack of blackguards like you.'
“Now, then, we're going to begin," said I.
Very soon after they assaulted him in force; and one of them, the ringleader, who used to boast that he had had fifteen warrants out against him, but that they could never find him, drew a knife upon him. “Go down to the magistrates at Beaminster," I said, “and get a warrant.” Upon this the ringleader absconded, and never came back all the time I was Vicar ; when I had been a little time at East Brent, his family, thinking that it all rested with me, wrote to me, to ask me to allow him to return.
Matters went on more or less quietly till Good Friday, 1843. When I came out of morning church, I was told that the village had narrowly escaped being burnt. I asked for the policeman ; he told me that some dry stuff on the skirts of the village had been set on fire by some men in seven places, and that if the wind had been that way, the fire would have spread widely. I asked him where the men were.
“Five of them,” he said, " in the lock-up.” "How did you get them in ?"
“Well," he said, “I knew the cottage they commonly met in, and I went to them and said that I believed they could tell me about how the fire began, and that I wished they would come and shew me the exact place. I took them by the street in which the lock-up was, and when we got opposite it, said, “Now, my men, this is Good Friday, and there will be no magistrates sitting, so I'll put you in here for the night.'
“In there,' they said ; ‘but we won't go in there.'
". The first man that says that again I'll knock him down.' In they all went.”
The next morning the village was full of people; I got upon my horse, and rode into the middle of them with the policeman. Not a soul then, or at any other time, shewed me any disrespect; they knew well that the whole matter of the policeman was my doing ; but they never gave any sign of a disposition to insult or thwart me. When we came to the lock - up, the policeman opened the door, brought out the five men, and we went with them to the magistrates. We let them off as easy as we could : one man was transported not long after for arson in another case, and the rioting subsided.
The people were very glad, especially the old women in the village. "Lor', Sir," they said to me, “afore this big gentleman come, we couldn't go out of our houses up and down street without pitch-polling over strings tied across the road; now it be all quiet like.”
It was a great instance of what a single strong and resolute man can do with a mob. When I had left Broadwinsor about a year, he wrote to me to say that the parishioners thought they had no longer need of his services, and that he hoped I had some occupation for him at East Brent. I thanked him, and wished him well; but said that we were quiet people up here. It reminds me of the request of the first policeman stationed in the village of East Brent, that I would get him removed.
"Why," I said, “I thought you were very comfortable here, the people are so quiet."
“That's just it, sir, there are no outrages; a man's got no opportunities."
My sister Julia was talking with an old woman at Broadwinsor, and telling her how glad she was things were quieter. “It's Mr. Denison, ma'am; you see, they be bigly afeard on he."
“Dear,” she said, "that isn't right, what they should be afraid of is doing wrong and offending GOD."
"Mabbe, ma'am, that's what it is as you says, but you see they beant come to that yet.”
There was a large, most kindly and pleasant society all about us, simple and old-fashioned. Mr. and Mrs. Brookland and their daughter Emma were our closest friends. He was Vicar of the beautiful village of Netherbury; I remember well coming upon it for the first time in May, when I walked over from Broadwinsor, after my induction. It lay in the valley, and burst suddenly upon me as I reached the crest of the hill above it, with its broken ground, meadows and stream, full of timber and orchards in bloom; and its comfortable - looking houses, with its fine old Church and Vicarage. I thought I had never looked upon such a picture of an English village, and I do not think I ever have since.
The Brooklands are all long since dead. The father first; then the daughter, who died in this house the first winter we came to East Brent, of fever, caught in tending the sick; last, soon after, the mother. I never knew people with greater vigour, enjoyment, heartiness, and kindliness of life.
In 1843, having built my schools, I had my first fight with the Committee of Council on Education. They wanted a loose Constitution; I told them I would have nothing but a tight one, and they gave way.
I have had to do with many official people; with none for whom I have had throughout so deep a dislike, amounting to a shrinking from all contact, as "the Committee of Council on Education." All the evil of the time is, as it were, summed up and condensed in it: it is to me, always has been, as “the abomination of desolation, sitting where it ought not."
In 1843, my brother Edward, then Bishop of Salisbury, in the incapacity of the then Bishop of Bath and Wells, took charge, at the request of Sir R. Peel's Government, of the diocese of Bath and Wells; and East Brent falling vacant in 1845, he offered it to me.
I became Vicar of East Brent August, 1845; and with much regret said good-bye to all our good, kind friends in and about Broadwinsor.
The house at East Brent had been much enlarged, and the grounds beautifully laid out some seven years before, the same time that I was building at Broadwinsor. But there was not a sixpence of dilapidations at Broadwinsor: I got £50 at East Brent; but it cost me close upon £200 before I could get into the house. Possibly my successor at Broadwinsor has found out that there ought to have been some dilapidations there. I only record the fact.
Two years ago, finding very general discontent with the present Dilapidations Bill, and, as it seems to me, with the soundest reason, I moved at Wells for a Committee to report thereupon; I drew the Report which was adopted by the Committee, and is printed in Appendix. When we came to discuss the Report at Wells opinions were conflicting; and upon a further attempt, sanctioned by the Bishop, being made to ascertain if possible what the Clergy in their several Deaneries thought about the matter, the answers were not, either in point of general concurrence or of sufficient clearness, such as to supply ground for further proceeding.